The language on wine labels can be carefully crafted, maddeningly complicated, or both. The terms “estate,” “estate-bottled” and “single vineyard” all sound vaguely similar, but have distinct definitions that can vary by country.
Grapes used to make a single-vineyard wine come from one vineyard. The producer whose name is on the label might not own that vineyard or control how it’s farmed. What you buy with a single-vineyard wine is geographic specificity.
In most growing regions, ‘estate’ means the winery controls 100% of the farming… The grapes might be grown on different plots of land, and the producer might own some or all or none of that land. But the grapes are farmed by the same entity.
The term ‘estate bottled’ is defined by law and the wine must have been made and bottled at the producer’s winery, and from grapes from vineyards owned or controlled by the producer that are within the same viticultural area as the winery.
In other words, estate-bottled wines are made with grapes that share geographical provenance and are farmed, fermented, aged and bottled on-site.
Generally speaking, wine quality tends to increase the more specific you get in terms of where the grapes are sourced, there is also a ‘rarity’ factor as these wines tend to be made in more limited quantities.